The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) hosts annual tax forums in various cities around the country throughout the summer months. Betty Williams will be speaking about tax audit triggers and tips at the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum held in San Diego, California, from September 12 through 14, 2017.
On May 10, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum to all Federal prosecutors, laying out the core principles of charging and sentencing policy for the Department of Justice under the Trump Administration. Namely, prosecutors have been instructed to "charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense" and "disclose to the sentencing court all facts that impact the sentencing guidelines or mandatory minimum sentences." Exceptions to the "strict application" of these guidelines must be clearly documented and then approved by a U.S. Attorney, Assistant Attorney General, or designated supervisor. This new policy memorandum explicitly rescinds certain policies set forth by the Obama Administration.
This month, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will begin having private collection agencies work to collect overdue federal taxes for a small group of taxpayers who have had multiple contacts from the IRS in previous years and still have an unpaid tax bill. The IRS will send letters to these taxpayers first, followed by phone calls. The designated firm will also send a letter to the taxpayer confirming the collection account has been transferred to them from the IRS.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is recommending that the IRS expand the criteria used to refer potential criminal cases for investigation for certain employers that fail to remit payroll taxes to the IRS. TIGTA found that tax noncompliance in employment tax matters is growing, and as of December 2015 the IRS is owed nearly $46 billion in unpaid employment taxes, interest, and penalties.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) hopes that the estimated 1 million taxpayers due a refund for the 2013 tax year will file their delinquent returns by April 18, 2017 - the deadline for them to claim their share of more than $1 billion in potential refunds. In California alone, an estimated 97,200 taxpayers may be able to claim over $93 million, with a median expected individual refund of $696.
Helpers Community Inc. must pay the San Francisco Office of the Assessor-Recorder approximately $31,000 in back taxes for misrepresenting the use of properties the charity owns around Golden Gate Park. The nonprofit was founded in 1953 to assist people with developmental disabilities, including providing residential care support. They have received about $100,000 in property tax exemptions since 2003 for this use. However, city officials recently found that the charity ended its residential services in 2002 and has been using the properties for storage and a high-end fashion resale boutique instead.
California taxpayers beware! Willfully failing to file tax returns for three or more consecutive years is sufficient to determine the taxpayer intended to evade paying tax, and therefore may be prosecuted for felony tax evasion and punished by imprisonment not to exceed one year. Under federal law, an element of willfulness is required - that is, some other affirmative act such as hiding assets offshore, keeping a second set of books, or destroying records. According to California's 4th District Court of Appeal, the mere failure to file tax returns is sufficient under California Revenue and Taxation Code section 19706. We agree with the dissent and hope this case proceeds to the California Supreme Court.
The IRS receives confidential information daily from what we in the profession call "The X Factor" - ex-spouses, ex-employees, ex-friends. These are people with whom you may have confided your tax shenanigans, who are sore, and turn you in to the IRS. Those who are bold enough to attach their names to the complaint may receive a reward if the IRS is able to collect taxes based on the information disclosed.
If you engage in virtual currency transactions, be sure that you have reported them! Many people are not aware that any U.S. taxpayer who has engaged in transactions involving digital currency must report any income received from such sources.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposed a revised schedule of fees for installment agreements made on or after January 1, 2017. The changes increase the highest possible fee to $225 (up from $120), but reduces fees for certain types of agreements.